LinkedIn recently launched a new mobile app directly targeted at college graduates and recent college graduates. The app is called “Students”, and I think it is both a step forward and a step back for the education industry.
How it helps:
It will push higher education institutions to leverage modern technologies. Pressure from private companies like LinkedIn will inevitably cause education institutions to begin learning these tools and getting onboarded into the growing industry of digital education. Once applications like Students start impacting colleges bottom lines, schools will quickly start to see the value of technology in education.
It will make the college application process more global, standard, and meritocratic. The current process for college application is widely nonstandard, with most institutions demanding completely different materials, not to mention substantial application fees. I believe that applications like LinkedIn Students will push application fees down,
How it hurts:
It is reinforces traditional education paradigms. I don’t know exactly what LinkedIns plan for monetization is for their student app, but I think we can safely assume that it involves signing colleges up for access to the massive swathe of potential students using the app.
Because of this focus, the application is obviously catering to the mass market, and to the needs of entrenched education institutions. They tell students that the path to success is linear, like this:
When really most peoples path to finding a career they like is far less standard. Implicitly, LinkedIn is pushing out alternate education providers — Code bootcamps, vocational schools, language schools, technical educators — from the “Students” path.
I think that this application is a great opportunity to push education institutions to use technology and join the global market for applicants.
“Students ” will be a huge step forward for the college education system in America, as long as we remember that not all paths to education are the same.
Thanks for reading.